Rumors and speculation surround the possible inhabitants of Blackout Island, located just a few miles off the coast. Conspiracy theories abound while social media leaks surface about government experiments gone wrong. Certainly something or someone must live there, for haven’t we all seen the shaky home videos of the occasional wisp of smoke or recordings of eerie sounds carrying far across the water on a calm summer night? Something wicked has been let loose within its depths…. And it is time for the truth to be revealed. Featuring seven dark stories by L.E. Aleman, Darren Diarmuid, Lauren Rylant, A.P. Christopher, -M. Taggart, M. Ennenbach, and Joann L. Berg. (Edited by Tara Caribou.)
For those of you who love reading, it’s go-time! The Shadows of Blackout Island is a horror anthology.
The Stump Maker: Three young teenagers agree to camp near a remote lake. As their fire grows, darkness creeps in, and with it, something else. The forgotten legend of The Stump Maker has been awoken.
This is a great read! Grab the paperback or kindle edition here-
The Stump Maker Written by -M. Taggart
Tim leaned back against a large pine. It was dusk. Derek made a circle with large stones to build the fire pit. He even tossed small rocks into the bottom so the air could flow more freely from underneath to feed the fire. The flames grew higher and flickered eastward as the wind picked up.
“That’s going good,” Brian said as he dumped an armload of wood a few feet from the fire. “Should be enough to last. Are we really going to do this?”
“Course,” replied Tim.
“I don’t see much stopping, Tim, do you?”
“No. I guess not. It’s all probably nothing anyway.”
“It’s nothing and if it isn’t nothing, I don’t much care, after what I’ve seen.”
“I know, Tim. I get it. We don’t need to go over all of that again.”
“Why not? It was my father it happened to. I’m not like other people. I’d rather talk about it than hide from it.”
“We’re going to need more wood than that. I put rocks at the bottom. This fire will burn through that wood in an hour.”
“We can all get more wood in a half-hour. I want to hear the story again about Mr. Wilson,” Tim said. “Brian, tell us what your mother said again. We’ve all heard things, but nothing like what your mother said. She reads all those books.”
Brian’s cheeks were flushed. Not from embarrassment, but with excitement. He liked telling stories. “I’ll tell you what she told me again. All of it.”
Derek sat on a stump near the fire and Tim leaned further into the pine tree while thumbing the top of his pocket knife.
“She said Mr. Wilson lost his only son in the lake. That part, we knew. She said that most of the land surrounding the lake was Wilson’s and that he and his son would fly fish for trout in a canoe. She said they would also hunt and walk over nearly every inch of the land they owned. One day, his son went fishing alone and didn’t come back.”
“I heard he drowned,” said Derek. “Did he tip and fall into the lake and not know how to swim? How could that happen if he was constantly on the land with his father and learning how to hunt and fish.”
“Yea. That doesn’t seem right to me either.”
“Guys, that’s just it. No one knows what happened. He didn’t come back and they said it happened in the lake. But Mr. Wilson went nuts after his son disappeared. They never found the body. My mother told me that Mr. Wilson blamed the power company for putting the dam in at the foot of the lake. They wanted to make hydroelectricity, but never did. So that’s why the dam is at the foot of the lake to control the flow of the water that runs into the Acton River. Streams feed into the lake and the water has to go somewhere so the power company wanted to use the water to make electricity and Mr. Wilson fought with them about it. My mother said that the power company wanted this location because of the natural geography of the slope where they placed the dam. The land drops down, making it easy for them to build the dam with the pumps underneath to open and close the gates. Anyway, that’s why that dam is at the foot of the lake and that’s why there’s a tunnel that runs under the dam… You’re going to do it, right, Tim?”
“I already told you I’m going to do it.”
“I know. I just needed to ask.”
“Keep asking and I’ll talk about my Dad and how I found him in these woods.”
The fire cracked loudly. Somewhere near a raven screeched. Dusk was a bit darker and traveling closer to night. Tim didn’t take his eyes off of Brian. Derek watched both of them.
Derek liked Tim. Liked how he was stronger now even after he lost his father. He liked about how Tim could lean against a tree and make it look comfortable, as though everyone should try to lean against a tree and be comfortable. But, he knew if he tried, it wouldn’t be that way. He watched as Brian looked at his boots, the small moment was over, but he saw it. Brian was good too, not as tough as Tim, but that didn’t matter.